29. We call upon the parties and, in particular, the federal government, to work collaboratively with plaintiffs not included in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to have disputed legal issues determined expeditiously on an agreed set of facts.
This recommendation aims to readdresses through a fair and public inquiry, the abuses faced by former students who were supposed to be compensated fairly by the IRSSA. Private law practitioners exploited their indigenous clients who were at a socioeconomic disadvantage to understand these legal processes, and a more relatable legal team without insidious agendas would prevent that from happening again. This recommendation calls for that justice to finally begin to be served.
The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement is the largest class action settlement that has ever occurred in the Canadian legal system; this settlement calls to address the severe cultural, mental, and systematic problems that arose from the existence of residential schools on Canadian soil. With the implementation of the Indian Act over 100 years ago, the Canadian government began taking children from their homes and communities, and enrolling them in mandatory Catholic or Protestant school systems.
The children were essentially held captive; they were banned from practicing their respective religion, speaking their own language, or communicating with their families…all in an effort to destroy Native American culture. This was not the only problem faced by indigenous children, they also endured tremendous psychological, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of their ‘educators’, actions that still need to be addressed and reprimanded by the Canadian government. Thousands of indigenous peoples would benefit from expeditious parties determining if the IRSSA has biased clauses discrediting the struggles endures by indigenous communities.